What is the best book for PMP Exam Prep?

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Preparing yourself to take the PMP exam? We’re so excited for you! 

Whether it’s your first attempt or not, it’s extremely critical to choose your study materials wisely. There are a ton of options out there, but of course, you only want the best of the best! 

The PMP exam is 180 questions and just shy of four hours long. PMI (Project Management Institute) makes the PMP exam difficult in order to assure that those who pass are top-tier project managers.

So, how do you know which PMP exam prep book is the best? Which one is going to give you all of the knowledge and confidence you’ll need to pass the PMP exam with flying colors? 

We know what you might be thinking – of course we’re going to say that the best prep book is The PMP Exam: How To Pass On Your First Try by Andy Crowe because he’s our CEO and we sell it.

We do say it’s the best, and not because we sell it, but because it genuinely is the best option for you. 

To prove it, let’s go over why it’s the best. We’ll compare it to some competition and take a look at what others say as well.

The PMP Exam: How To Pass On Your First Try, 6th Edition Plus Agile

The PMP Exam: How To Pass On Your First Try is a 840-page tour guide and mentor through all things Project Management. It’s full of experience and invaluable lessons from renowned project manager Andy Crowe. We’ll talk more about Andy in a little bit. 

840 pages might sound like a lot, and that’s because it is.  As we’ve said, the PMP exam is no joke, and you’re going to need the best resources available to prepare. 

That’s what The PMP Exam: How To Pass On Your First Try includes – everything you need to know, and everything you need to study to be successful on the PMP exam.  

Beginning with the fundamentals of project management and building a strong foundation, The PMP Exam: How to Pass on Your First Try prep book goes deep into high concept theories and methods of management. Andy describes predictive (waterfall) and adaptive (agile) approaches to managing projects to ensure that you know the differences in these approaches, their strengths and weaknesses, and how that impacts the role of the project manager. You see, you have to know those differences before you sit for this exam. Many of the questions will present a scenario and ask you what the project manager should do. Knowing the differences in waterfall and agile approaches is a key to your success.

Extensive Material

The PMP Exam: How to Pass on Your First Try book isn’t just reading. Andy includes 450 practice exam questions for you to test yourself as well as review questions at the end of every chapter. 

There are also 60 videos of the author Andy Crowe walking you through some of the more complicated concepts and principles. This is great for those who learn better through verbal communication.

The book also includes margins for you to take your own notes inside. So you have access to all of the information and your own study notes all under one cover. 

Included in the purchase is a book trial access to our self-paced, online course called Pass the PMP Exam. Buy our book, and it includes 6 hours of content from this course, plus 100 unique practice test questions in the popular Testing Lab for that course. All the details are described here

So, no matter which way you study best, we’ve made sure to make all of the information you’ll need available in multiple forms to ensure that everyone studies successfully. 


Let’s start with an article from The New York Daily News. Allen Foster reviews PMP exam prep books and selects Andy’s book as “Best of the best” – check out the comments. 

On amazon.com, The PMP Exam: How To Pass On Your First Try 6th Edition Plus Agile has a review score of 4.6 out of 5 from almost a thousand reviewers.

A vast majority of our readers give The PMP Exam: How to Pass on Your First Try book five stars. They note that after a few weeks of studying the chapters, they passed the PMP exam with room to spare. 

Several users mention using other study materials and failing the PMP before switching to The PMP Exam and returning to succeed. 

Most of the negative reviews revolve around not being able to find the code for the digital, online material. If you do struggle finding it, our customer service team is always happy to help you locate it. Keep in mind – if you buy a used book, the previous owner may have already used the digital, online material. 

The Competition

Of course, there are some alternatives available to The PMP Exam: How To Pass On Your First Try.

A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, PMBOK Guide 

Another popular prep book you may have heard of is the PMBOK® Guide. This book is published by PMI. They state that the guide is only 1 of many resources someone should use when studying for the PMP exam. This book does have similarly high reviews; however, we might point out that the negative reviews on the PMBOK® Guide are fairly noticeable. (The biggest complaint is how dry and hard to read it is. It’s written like a user’s manual or encyclopedia. A sure-cure for insomnia!)

To deter people from making copies and distributing their books, PMI has created “anti-print” pages. These pages are essentially thin, light pages with light grey text.  Even the positive reviews mention how this is particularly irritating and distracting when studying. 

The PMBOK® Guide does not come with any additional online materials or resources for your studies. However, it’s priced the same as our PMP Exam: How To Pass On Your First Try book which comes with hours and hours of supplementary materials.

PMP Exam Prep Simplified

Another option for your PMP studies could be the PMP Exam Prep Simplified book. This one also has a high rating and mostly positive reviews. It includes online material and videos like The PMP Exam: How To Pass On Your First Try book and comes at a reasonable price. 

But something that stands out in their reviews (both positive and negative) is the regular comment that the book feels “extremely rushed.”

This feeling of being rushed, along with regular typos, misaligned pages, and jumpy chapters, makes the PMP Exam Prep Simplified leave you guessing if you are missing any key facts. When it comes to the material you’re spending money on to prepare yourself for what may be the most important exam you’ll ever take, you’ll want to consider a book that’s carefully put together with every new edition. 

Who is Andy Crowe

The author of The PMP Exam: How To Pass On Your First Try is Andy Crowe. Mr. Crowe is the founder and CEO of Velociteach, a company he created in 2002.

While a leading project manager in the IT industry, Andy realized he wanted to teach others to do what he loved – project management. That passion led Andy to write the first version of this book in 2002. Many more versions of this book and other content have followed! Andy founded Velociteach with a goal to empower others to learn project management in a simple, dynamic way that also encouraged personal and professional growth. 

Andy moved from managing multinational projects with major companies like Microsoft and Manhattan Associates, to lead the Velociteach team in developing books, online curricula, and classes to help project managers achieve 2 goals: (1) get better, and (2) get certified.

One of the secret ingredients in Andy’s prep book is this: he gets it. Andy knows the life of a project manager, speaks the language, and can relate abstract concepts to real-world examples. As you see in this book, Andy’s communication style is clear, on-point, and focused on 1 goal: giving you the knowledge you need to pass the PMP exam on your first try.

In Conclusion

Getting yourself prepared to take the PMP exam is a serious undertaking. The exam is designed to weed out people who are not extremely qualified and knowledgeable. This is why those with the certification stand out from the crowd.

Trust resources that come from experts. With decades of experience as a successful project manager, Andy knows the profession inside and out. Best of all, Andy points you to the keys to exam success.

The PMP Exam: How To Pass Your First Time is Andy’s way of extending his hand to you and guiding you in the world of project management. You’ll learn so much about the profession from this book.

While there are other options and everyone has their own learning styles, we strongly believe that The PMP Exam: How To Pass Your First Time truly is the best book to use for your PMP exam prep. 

If you’re interested in going even deeper into your PMP preparation and education, Velociteach.com has a wide range of online options. This includes hours and hours of classes and reading materials that you can access at your own pace.

We also offer a four-day boot camp class. This class includes The PMP Exam: How To Pass Your First Time and high-quality teachers to make sure that you’re as prepared as possible.  Included with the four-day PMP boot camp is 6-month’s access to our online content and practice exams.

For those who prefer self-study options, check out this bundle of online practice tests and courses. These will fulfill the 35 contact hours needed to qualify for the exam. 

Velociteach also offers a podcast, Manage This, which offers free PDUs. This podcast is full of educational project stories and lessons from some of the brightest minds in project management today. 

There may be other options, but none meet Velociteach’s and Andy Crowe’s number one goal and passion which is to get you PMP certified on the first try.

  1. New York Daily News – Consumer Reviews: Three Best PMP Prep Books
  2. Amazon Customer Reviews: The PMP Exam: How to Pass On Your First Try | Amazon
  3. Amazon Customer Reviews: The PMP Exam: How to Pass On Your First Try | Amazon
  4. More Amazon Customer Reviews: The PMP Exam: How to Pass On Your First Try | Amazon